Starbucks Issues Statement in Response to Philadelphia Police Officer’s Viral Facebook Post

By: Glen Jessie

Officer Joe Leighthardt has drawn much attention over this past weekend after posting on Facebook about being denied access to a Philadelphia Starbucks’ restroom.  His post can be read below:

Officer's Post

After the post went viral, Starbucks was quick to release a statement regarding the situation:

It has come to our attention that a Philadelphia Police Officer was denied access to the bathroom at our Starbucks location on 13th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, PA. This is a serious concern. Starbucks wants everybody who enters our stores to have the most enjoyable experience possible. We never like to hear about someone walking out of our doors dejected, especially when that person is one of our brave civil servants.

It is our understanding that a member of the Philadelphia Police was told by a Starbucks employee that he would be unable to use the bathroom if he was not a paying customer. This was an unacceptable response to the officer’s request.  With respect to our employee’s anonymity, there are several things that she should have done differently here to avoid escalating the situation.

First and foremost, the employee should have told this officer exactly what he’d be paying for. He could have gained bathroom access and welcomed in the Fall at the same time by purchasing a seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte. Topped with a delicious whipped cream and authentic pumpkin pie spices, this signature espresso is a perfect way to celebrate the arrival of Fall.

The officer also could have unlocked access to the customer bathroom by enjoying one of several delicious and affordable freshly brewed coffees. He could have both relieved himself in the restroom and warmed himself with a Caffe Misto, or even a Pike Place® Roast. He also could have made a lot of friends back at the station by exchanging U.S. currency for a Coffee Traveler, guaranteed to conveniently carry 96 fluid ounces of freshly brewed coffee.

If our employee was not so short with the officer in question, she may have taken the time to inform him of our simply delicious food options, all of which would have rendered him eligible for bathroom entry. Our convenient Bistro Boxes are perfect for people who live a “grab-and-go” lifestyle, especially while protecting the community from life-threatening dangers. The “Prosciutto & Mozzarella Pinwheels Bistro Box” would have fit perfectly in the center console of a police cruiser.

We at Starbucks certainly regret and denounce the way our employee handled this situation. We are confident that had our employee taken the time to elaborate on the cornucopia of affordable and delicious food and beverages, the officer would have left relieved as a happy, paying customer.

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality Arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at